Sarah LeFanu

Sarah LeFanu lives in Claverham, near Bristol. She is researching a biography of Rose Macaulay.

Je suis bizarre: Gwen John

Sarah LeFanu, 6 September 2001

The self-portrait by Gwen John hanging in the National Portrait Gallery was painted in 1899 or 1900. She is dressed in the formal costume of the period: a tight-waisted blouse with leg-of-mutton sleeves and a big black bow at the neck. Her hair is tied back and her hands are on her hips. She is slightly turned away from us, so only one hand is visible. Gwen John always emphasised the hands of...

Adam Phillips (Letters, 22 February) has now put right those readers who mistakenly read his ‘we’ as referring to men only, with his explanation that when he wrote about ‘everyone’ grudging a woman her independence he was referring to our ‘thoughts from childhood’. Of course children of both sexes have a mother. Do we need to have that corroborated ‘from a psychoanalytic point of view’?...
SIR: Like your correspondent Parina Stiakaki (Letters, 1 October), I find myself compelled to write on the subject of Andrea Dworkin’s Intercourse, but my aim is to counter the gross distortions that appeared in Roy Porter’s review of the book (LRB, 25 June) and your correspondent’s accusations of its ‘narrow-minded, bigoted sterility’ and its ‘warped notions’ that express ‘violent...

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